Gainesville is a university town, which means one thing: great coffee houses. Whether you’re looking for a high-quality coffee or you need a place to work on your laptop for a few hours, this friendly northern Florida town has you covered. From the chic, artisan-style Volta to the relaxed Maude’s Cafe, each spot has a distinct vibe and delicious drinks. Many of the best coffee shops in Gainesville are located within walking distance of the University of Florida and the charming downtown core. Still, you’ll find excellent options scattered around town.
Pack up your laptop before you head to Pascal’s Coffeehouse — located a quick walk from the University of Florida campus, this airy coffee shop is a popular spot to study. Large windows and skylights create a bright, welcoming interior, and you’ll find plenty of seating options for singles and groups of all sizes. The menu is small but delicious, offering the standard selection of coffee drinks, pastries, and a few light meal options. Make sure to try the Cuban-style espresso. This cafe is located inside the Christian Study Center; parking is limited, so many visitors choose to walk.
When you’re craving a doughnut or a freshly made bagel, head straight to BakerBaker, this small neighborhood bakery prepares an ever-changing selection of pastries from scratch every day, so you never know what you’re going to find. Keep an eye out for the house-specialty pecan bars and warm croissants. This tiny spot is friendly and family-run, and the owners make a point to use local ingredients. Seating is limited to a few tables outside, so this is a great place to grab and go. Order online in advance, or stop by to see what’s fresh.
Karma Cream is a Gainesville legend, and for a good reason — it’s one of the best vegan spots in town. Stop in for a sandwich, and make sure to leave room for one of the shop’s exceptional vegan desserts, ice cream dishes, or candy bars. The coffee menu is small, but each drink is available with vegan and dairy milk options. This coffee shop is a great place to stop and rest while you’re exploring the heart of downtown Gainesville; the interior is small but stylish, with a fun mid-century space vibe. It’s not uncommon to see students studying, but the tight quarters are best suited to meals with friends.
It’s all about the vibe at Curia on the Drag. Located north of downtown, this beautiful coffee shop is the perfect place to spend an entire afternoon. Pick up a coffee inside, grab a breakfast sandwich from the vegan food truck, and set up camp. Sit indoors for the quiet and the AC, or check out one of the beautiful outdoor seating areas. Settle into a cozy booth, pull up an armchair in the sun, or enjoy the breeze on the patio. With its colorful murals and whimsical decorations, every corner of this coffee shop is an Instagrammer’s dream. The Wi-Fi is strong, and the atmosphere is relaxed — you’ll see everyone from university professors to local families.
Drive through or sit in at Coffee Culture, a spacious spot located just off NW 13th Street in the northern part of town. If you love specialty coffees and flavored drinks, this is a must-visit spot; try the iced white mocha or one of the espresso freezers. Of course, you can constantly get caffeinated with a traditional dark roast or Americano. The interior is bright and spacious, with a charming diner vibe that’s made even better by the super-friendly service. Be sure to check out the bakery case, which is always packed with brownies, cakes, and other decadent treats. Stick around long enough, and you might get to see one of the cafe’s live music events.
The “CYM” in CYM Coffee Co. stands for “Change Your Mind”; it’s the title of a song by owner Ken Block’s band, Sister Hazel. It’s easy to get into a positive mindset at this coffee shop — set in a historic house, and it’s filled with warm wood and natural light. Every room of the home offers different types of seating, so you can chill with a book on a bean bag or read on the covered porch. Check the schedule for the live concerts on the lawn. The menu includes various specialty lattes, craft beer, and wine; come for fresh coffee from Gainesville roasters and transition right into happy hour. A small variety of bagels, cookies, and muffins keeps you going strong.
Maude’s Classic Cafe
Maude’s cafe offers a bit of everything: lots of coffee drinks, a sizable food menu with plenty of vegan options, beer and wine, and some of the best baked goods in Gainesville. Once you see the caramel-topped cupcakes and rich chocolate cake, you might want to forgo a meal and go straight to dessert. The interior has a homey, eclectic vibe, with vintage booths and shelves stuffed with board games. If you want to work or socialize, the large outdoor patio is bright and breezy. After dark, pretty cafe lights and live music create a fun, date-night vibe.
Pick up a coffee to go from the drive-through and walk-up windows at Bay Islands Coffee Company. It might be tiny, but this spot has an impressive menu packed with a wide variety of coffee, espresso, smoothies, and tea. On hot days, get an iced coffee or frozen lemonade to go with your breakfast sandwich. Although there’s a single table in front of the coffee shack, this spot is best for takeout; it’s located in the middle of a shopping center parking lot.
Don’t let Volta’s relaxed, chic vibe intimidate you — the staff is friendly, and the baked goods are fantastic. If you’re an unapologetic java snob, this is one of the best coffee shops in Gainesville. The coffee beans are carefully selected to ensure that every blend is nuanced and expertly prepared. Not in the mood for coffee? Check out the Mayan chocolate or New York egg cream drinks. Whether you’re coming for a cold brew or one of the cafe’s creative sandwiches, the enormous windows create a bright, cheerful place to hang out with friends or catch up on work.
Tucked into a corner of the Hampton Inn and Suites building, Wyatt’s coffee is a convenient spot to get a great cup of coffee in downtown Gainesville. This coffee shop is one of the most beautiful spots in town: it’s decorated in Scandi style, with black and white walls with plenty of warm-colored wood to keep things feeling friendly. The pour-overs and French press options are delicious, but you can’t go wrong with a traditional drip coffee. The menu features Florida-roasted coffees and hand-blended Tebella teas, so every drink is on point.
Opus Coffee is a Gainesville icon. The company operates several different branches around town; the Coffee Airstream at the 4th Ave Food Park is particularly cute. The sunny Opus Coffee at Innovation is best when you want to study or work on a laptop. Each location serves Opus’ legendary coffees, which are sourced from around the world and roasted in small batches. With blends from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Honduras, and East Timor (among others), there’s a brew for every taste.
Drip coffee can get a bad rap among connoisseurs, but not at Concord Coffee — the batch-brewed drinks at this gorgeous cafe delight even the pickiest palates. Of course, you can also order an espresso drink, an artisan pour-over, or a flash brew. For non-coffee drinkers, the tea lemonade is a must. Concord Coffee is located just across the street from the University of Florida in the Gator Wesley Foundation building, so it’s often packed with students and professors with laptops. If you’re planning to stay awhile, head up the spiral staircase to find a comfortable, quiet seat. Power outlets are limited, so make sure your devices are fully charged.
When you want to set up shop with your laptop and a strong coffee, Starbucks is a reliable option. Choose from many different locations in Gainesville. In terms of available seating, the best options are the downtown branch on SE 2nd Place and the one on SW Archer Road near I-75. Both offer spacious indoor and outdoor dining areas, so you’ll feel comfortable sticking around for hours. If you’re on the University of Florida campus, check out the to-go options in the J. Wayne Reitz Union and Library West.
Visit the Best Coffee Shops in Gainesville
In Gainesville, there’s a coffee shop to suit every mood. Chill outside with friends at Curia on the Drag, transport yourself to New York at Wyatt’s Coffee, or revel in classic Florida feeling on the porch at CYM Coffee. With so many great options, you’re never far from a delicious cup of coffee.